The debate on the future of the EU has experienced a suspension, due above all to the transition phase between 2018 and 2019. This period was marked by the renewal of the European Institutions, the uncertainties of Brexit and by different ambitions and visions on the future of the process of European integration that persist among Member States.
The start of the new 2019-2024 institutional cycle (whose priorities are contained in the Strategic Agenda 2019-2024, on which the European Council agreed on 20 June 2019) is marking the resumption of the debate over the structures and policies of the European Union. This debate is going to be framed in a large Conference on the future of Europe, a major pan-European and participatory exercise. The Conference will involve, over a period of two years, Member States, institutions, national Parliaments, citizens and civil society representatives with the aim of developing concrete reform proposals to be implemented by the start of the next 2024-2029 institutional cycle, in order to give new momentum to the Union's action and paying particular attention to citizens' requests. The launch event of the Conference, hosted by the current Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, should take place on the symbolic date of 9 May 2020, Europe Day, also coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration.
All the essential features of the exercise (scope, format, structure, governance, communication, goals, follow-up) should be defined with a Joint Declaration drawn up following the interinstitutional discussion between the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and the European Parliament. Among these three Institutions, both the European Parliament and the EU Council have already taken their position on the Conference, in a Resolution of last January 15 and in a Communication of January 22 respectively.
As a contribution to the soon-to-be-launched Conference and to foster a unitary position of the 27 Member States of the Council, on 19 February Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte published a position document that summarizes Italy's position on the Conference. The document, prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, was submitted to the attention of the Presidents of the three main European Institutions and to all other EU partners. Compared to other similar national documents circulated so far, which have focused on the procedural and organizational aspects of the Conference, the Italian instrument is the first to focus on the possible contents of the exercise, making concrete and ambitious proposals. It touches upon both specific proposals for institutional reforms, especially aimed at improving the democratic involvement of citizens and the efficiency of EU decision-making processes, as well as policy proposals, with particular attention to the economy, the environment and migration. The Italian non-paper thus testifies to the determination of our Country to contribute to the success of the Conference, in line with Italy's traditional commitment to the European project.